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The elastic years

If 50 is the new 40, and 40's still the new 30, will we ever be allowed to grow up? Not if the writers of a flood of new books get their young-and-hip way.

December 09, 2007|Monica Corcoran | Times Staff Writer

"Aging sucks," announces author Charla Krupp in the introduction of her new book, "How Not to Look Old." She goes on to list her anatomical pet peeves -- including age spots and spider veins -- and I get it. She had me at chin hair. But then I read on and see that Krupp doesn't want to carp about it, like I do, for a few paragraphs. On Page 2, she outlines her boomer manifesto for 40-plus women: an attack on aging that includes "Y&H" (younger and hipper) concepts to replace "OL" (old lady) habits.

Y&H? How about T&C (tired and content)? Or W&TO (wider and that's OK)? But Krupp isn't alone in her clarion call to resist crow's-feet. There's also the upcoming "1001 Little Ways to Look Younger" by Esme Floyd, which seems like 901 too many ways for someone who can't always remember her ZIP Code. The 40-plus woman can also pick up the just released "Brenda Kinsel's Fashion Makeover: 30 Days to Diva Style!" Or there's "Forever Cool: How to Achieve Ageless, Youthful, and Modern Personal Style," which advises 50-plus women to attain a youthful edge by wearing a serape.

Somewhere, between high-waisted mom jeans and snug Juicy Couture track suits, isn't there a middle ground? Like the wedge, which is, in essence, a chic ballet flat on stilts. I'm 40 and quite frankly, "Y&H" sounds like a desperate anthem for a newly divorced dad. You know, that 45-plus guy with spiked hair from Marina del Rey who constantly quotes Tony Hawk? And the idea of donning a serape only makes me long for a plate of mile-high nachos, which leads to elastic waistbands, which Krupp deems so OL.

It was inevitable that all this "40 is the new 30" chatter would lead to new rules for age-appropriate dressing. And believe me, I'm thrilled that women can now wear their hair long and their skirts short. Personally, I can't wait to see the get-ups on Sarah Jessica Parker and company in the upcoming "Sex and the City" movie.

If the "Golden Girls" aired today, Bea Arthur would stalk around in stilettos while Rue McClanahan flashed her fuchsia thong. I wouldn't like it one bit. Nor do I plan to devote myself to achieving a Y&H look. It's only in recent years that I have come to completely appreciate my own style, which is evolving alongside me.

Besides, I spent much of my 20s and some of my 30s breathlessly chasing down trends. Guess what? It aged me.


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